One of my online forums encourages members to post prayer requests. In recent days, there’s been a thread asking prayers for a little girl who got enticed into a neighbor’s house for several hours. Without giving too many details, when she was retrieved from the house, the male of the household was high on multiple controlled or illegal substances, and subsequent tests revealed the girl had been molested.
The girl needs prayers, as do the other children found at the house, as do the parents. At some point while reading through that thread, I realized, the perpetrator needs prayers too.
And then my uncomfortable thought: God loves that man.
That man who lured a little girl into his house and subjected her to degrading and horrible activities, that man who was neglecting his own kids while he attended to his own lust and his own need to feel more powerful than someone, is loved by God.
As a human being, I want to say the perpetrator needs to be flayed alive. But God loves him. Of course the man should be locked in jail and never allowed near a child again, and he should “pay his debt to society” by whatever means the legal system demands. I’m not even hinting that what he did was right, or that we should let criminals off the hook. I’m just saying the unfathomable: that he’s loved by God.
You’ll respond, “It’s easy for you to think that: it’s not your daughter.” You’re right. If it were my daughter, I’d be wanting to kill that man myself. My emotions wouldn’t negate God’s, though.
It’s also humbling to think that in God’s eyes, my sin is the same as this man’s sin. All sin is offensive and mars our souls. God loves me anyhow. God loves this guy, much as what he did was monstrous and and as much as I want to say he deserves to rot in hell.
I do believe no one is beyond redemption while still alive, and of course the man’s soul is not in a good way right now. It’s easy to imagine God loving this man if he were to repent and try to make amends with the little girl and her family (from the distance of his jail cell — that’s a very important part of this whole equation, the civil and legal penalties).
On the other hand, it’s very uncomfortable for me to consider that whole “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” angle, that God loves this man now, wants him to come home now, is saddened by the separation of this man’s soul from him now, before he’s repented and before he’s shown any signs of remorse.
Please pray for the little girl and her family. If you’re a better person than I am, you might be able to pray for the man who victimized her.